Balancing, Swinging, and Tumbling Their Way to Glory

Ayanna Desai

You need a really strong upper body, a strong core, and you need to be flexible. 

The Lovett Gymnastics team has been working hard for the past few months, and that hard work has paid off. 

“The season was great,” said Coach Melito. “We have two girls who have qualified for the state qualifiers,” an impressive feat, according to Melito, considering that they usually just get one qualifier every other year. 

The two girls who qualified were senior Cameron Colavito and freshman Gabby Tobin. The state qualifier was on Friday, April 23rd. 

Gabby Tobin has been doing gymnastics since she was 18 months old. She started competing on a team once she was 12 years old.

She has done really well this season. “This year,” she said, “I competed on all four events which include vault, uneven bars, balance beam, and floor exercise.”

Gabby agreed with Coach Melito’s positive assessment of the season. “I feel like our team has really grown to encourage each other to try new things and get higher scores,” she said. 

Gabby told me that their highest combined score is a 95, and they are ranked 12th in the state. 

Along with the accomplishments of the season, there were also some complications. Coach Melito said that since they got the equipment down so late, “this year, we only had one practice day before the first meet. It’s hard to teach people who haven’t done [gymnastics] since last season.” 

However, Coach Melito said that they’ve done well despite the initial complications. As with every sport, the gymnastics team has certain strengths and weaknesses. Gabby said they tend to get higher scores on the floor overall because “the majority of us come into the season with the most tumbling experience.”

Coach Melito has been coaching gymnastics for a whopping 48 years. She used to compete when she was younger. Her favorite part about coaching gymnastics is teaching the girls new skills. “They get so excited [and] it’s fun to watch.” 

She said that gymnastics is a whole-body sport. You need a really strong upper body, a strong core, and you need to be flexible. 

Gabby said that the areas that they are growing in are bars and beam. “During practice, most of us will go to bars and beam first to practice upgrades to increase the value of our routines.”

For Gabby’s personal performance, she said that she has improved in all events, but she has improved most on beam. She added, “I think this was a pretty good year because I qualified for the state qualifier in three events: vault, uneven bars, and floor exercise.” Gabby ended the season with an outstanding 9.1 out of a possible 10.0 points.

A glimpse of what gymnastics is like behind the scenes, according to Gabby, is “practicing on all four events for the entire practice, cheering each other on when trying to perfect a skill we have been working on for a while, and countless routines where our head coach, Jill Melito, tells us to point our toes and straighten our legs so we don’t get any more deductions during a meet.”

After all of that balancing on beams, swinging on bars, and tumbling across the floor, they celebrated senior night, where they recognized two seniors, Lindy Benton and Cameron Colavito, who have been doing gymnastics for four years. 

“They are extremely hard workers and great role models for us,” Gabby said, “because they really enjoy competing in the sport and motivate us and each other to do the best we can.”
The Lovett School is an independent, coeducational day school where children from Kindergarten through Grade 12 find the courage to explore and the drive to discover.

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